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SharePoint is a key part of the Microsoft Office user experience. But as is often the case, maybe you’ve just stuck with the Microsoft apps you already know, and haven’t bothered to explore the others. If you want to learn just what SharePoint is and what you can do with it, keep reading.

Are you missing out on Microsoft SharePoint?

Unlike Word, Excel, and Outlook, SharePoint isn’t a longstanding Microsoft app that most users are familiar with. That’s why many users are hesitant to try it out and see how it works. Unfortunately, they’re missing out on a great file sharing service – and maybe you are too.

What is Microsoft SharePoint?

As the name implies, SharePoint is designed to allow you to share files, collaborate, edit, and more with anywhere from a single coworker to an entire team. Files in SharePoint aren’t owned or associated with one specific person – everyone on the team has read and write access.

SharePoint is a cloud-based platform that enables companies to backup, store, retrieve, and collaborate on spreadsheets, documents, presentations, databases, and much more.

It seamlessly integrates with the more popular of Microsoft’s products, Microsoft Office 365, and has the capacity of being configured for a wide variety of applications and workflows.

The key to remember with SharePoint is that it’s where you keep the files that you want your team members to access, update, edit, etc. Try using SharePoint for your next team project and see how effective it really is.

What are the advantages of SharePoint?

  • Centralizing resources in a shared platform: SharePoint has many avenues for integration with Microsoft products as well as third-party applications.
  • Designed to be user-friendly: SharePoint’s integrations allow employees to operate with the browsers, email, and other applications to which they have become accustomed.
  • Easy file access: SharePoint’s major selling point is its ability to facilitate file-based data collaboration between shareholders within your company as well as collaboration with clients through permissions-based access.
  • All your data secured in one place: By combining SharePoint with BI, you can leverage data visualization tools for more informed choices.
  • More efficient workflow, day by day: SharePoint centralizes collaboration, resulting in a more efficient overall process.
  • Fully compliant design: Auditing policies, storage protocols, and security settings within SharePoint make it simpler for companies like yours to get and stay compliant with industry standards and governmental regulations.
  • Easily executable business processes: Gather data and automatically funnel it into backend systems – avoiding redundant work processes and manual mistakes.

That’s all well and good – but if you’re unfamiliar with SharePoint, you may also be unfamiliar with another Microsoft product: OneDrive. It’s particularly worth noting that users often mistake one for the other…

What’s the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint?

This is one of the most common questions about SharePoint and for good reason. Both services seem to be about file sharing, but it can be difficult to breakdown their differences from a layman’s perspective.

Before exploring how they differ, let’s talk about OneDrive…

OneDrive is like a cloud-based version of the “My Documents” folder that you’ve come to rely on with your PC for years and years. When you create a document or need to open up one from the past, it’ll likely be stored in “My Documents” (ideally, organized a few sub-folders down).

With OneDrive, it’s the same idea, but instead of being stored in “My Documents” on your local work server, it’s stored offsite in the cloud, which means you can access that same file from your home office, while you’re on your way to work, or even while you’re away traveling for business.

It even offers an offline sync engine so that you can keep working when you’re disconnected from the Internet.

So how does this differ from SharePoint?

The best way to tell them apart is to compare how they should be used. Whichever lines up more with what you’re looking for? That’s the one you should use.

When should you use SharePoint?

When you want to…

  • Provide your team with complete access to a number of documents that pertain to a given project.
  • Give ownership and permission to a wide range of people – anywhere from a single team, to multiple groups, to your entire company.
  • Save time by granting a number of permissions at once instead of going manually document by document. By giving a team member, or the entire team access to a new site, they’ll automatically be given access to all included documents.

And when should you use OneDrive?

When you…

  • Don’t want to share. By default, any documents saved to OneDrive are private (unless you place them in the “Shared with Everyone” folder).
  • Want to share under very specific conditions, whether that’s in a limited capacity or within a specific timeframe.

So, while there is an overlap in what OneDrive and SharePoint offer users, it’s not really a matter of which is better, or even if there’s a better alternative on the market.

Both offer industry-leading functionality and features – in the end, how well they serve your business is about how well you understand and use them.

Like this article? Check out the following blogs on Microsoft technologies to learn even more:

Pick the Perfect Meeting Location Using Outlook Mobile

Microsoft Office 365: Check Out The Outlook Team-Meeting Add-In

Do You Know How To Get Everyone On The Same Page With Microsoft Office 365?